Snap is selling its new futuristic, video-capturing sunglasses in a very old-school way: With vending machines.
Snapchat plans to deposit the machines “soon” throughout the U.S., with the first machine coming to Venice Beach. In true Snapchat fashion, the machines are ephemeral — they will only be available for about one day at each location before they’re removed.
The Snapbots will also use the same technology the app uses for its face-distorting lenses, so that people can try on different-colored Spectacles before making a final purchase.
It’s an unorthodox way to bring something like this to market. Most companies selling hardware simply throw up a website. But Snapchat and CEO Evan Spiegel have always liked to do things differently. An ephemeral vending machine that uses the company’s face-recognition technology is incredibly on-brand.
When the glasses were announced, Snap said Spectacles would be available with limited distribution. Emphasis on limited: People familiar with the company say it will likely only sell a few thousand of these things this fall.
Which makes this more a marketing exercise than a product launch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The company will announce new Snapbot locations just 24 hours before they appear, and you can check the Spectacles website to see when and where new locations will be available. The glasses cost $129.99.
Here’s a promo video for the launch.
By Kurt Wagner